Lake St. Clair Metropark banding report - May 6-14, 2017 - Banding the first half of May had some challenges, and many rewards. The first day we planned to band, May 5, was rained out and on two days the park opene...
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"The [Great Lakes] are a barrier, too-- a fact that birders put to good use in spring migration. Northbound land birds arrive at the lakes, look out over seemingly endless stretches of water offering no food, no place to rest, and often decide to take a break before continuing. As a result, impressive numbers of birds can pile up along shorelines, especially at isolated patches of trees such as Indiana's famous Migrant Trap, in Hammond, or Ohio's equally famous Crane Creek boardwalk, east of Toledo. In places like these, on any day from mid-April through May one is likely to find birders scanning the trees in anticipation of a 'fallout' day when 20 or more species of warblers may be found in just a few hours."
April 17 Free admission to the Kalamazoo Nature Center
April 17 Annual Midwest Crane Count
April 18-24 Free admission to all National Parks during National Park Week. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
April 24 Earth Day Celebration. Saugatuck
April 23-25 Maple Syrup Festival in Vermontville
April 24 & 25, May 2, May 15 Kalamazoo River Valley Trail Spring Wildflower Walks
open through April 30 Meijer Garden butterfly display. Grand Rapids
May 1-8 Tulip festival. Holland
May 1 Spring blooms in the Dunes Hoffmaster State Park
May 1 Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade Benton Harbor/St Joseph
May 14 - 16 West Michigan Birding Festival. Luddington
May 15, 22 Kayak Demo Days at Ramona Park
May 22-23 Great Lakes Kite Festival Grand Haven
open now through May 31 Big, Big Bugs exhibit at Grand Rapids Museum
1. The Lakes
"US 131 passes mainly through a rather lakeless low ancient lake plain topography from the Indiana border until it reaches the higher Kalamazoo moraine upland area near the city. But one can find the lake country within a few miles of the highway." Reach the lakes by going west on US 12 to M-40 then north on county roads.
2. The Prairies
"The question of how prehistoric peoples used the small prairies crossed by U.S. 131 in St. Joseph and Kalamazoo Counties is intriguing. these prairies are small remnants of an extension of the 'prairie peninsula' that was an expansion of the vast prairies of Illinois across northwest Indiana and into southwest Michigan during the warm period known as the hypsithermal (around fifty-six hundred years ago)... The Potawatomi who lived in the area when the settlers arrived had villages and garden oriented toward the prairies."
Evidence of Hopewell Indians has been found near the highway.
Kalamazoo County had many prehistoric features known as garden beds. "These features consisted of earthen ridges about one and a half feet high and were reported to have been laid out in various formal shapes such as wheels and triangles, with spokes and patterned squares withe ridges facing first one way and then the other." There is no trace of these now.
3. Schoolcraft Area Mastodont
"A mastodont find occurred in 1995. The bones were found when a local family was digging a canal." (More commonly known as a mastodon)
4. Plainwell Area Mastodont
In 1945 a relatively complete mastodon was found on the Keith farm. "One of the unsolved mysteries about the occurrence of these giant, elephant-like creatures is the fact that most of them are discovered only as individual bones or parts of bones or teeth. One of the suggestions as to the reason for this is that Ice Age hunters killed animals that were mired in quaking bogs, butchered them at the site, and then carried most of the parts away, leaving the unused parts such as the skull and teeth in or near the kill site."
5. Prehistoric Grand Rapids
The Hopewell people built burial mounds (known as the Converse mounds) in what is now downtown Grand Rapids. These no longer exist. The nearby Norton mounds, 17 mounds near US 131, are now protected
1. The Lake Michigan Route
Indiana Border to Mackinaw City (I-94 to US 31)
2. The West-Central Route
Indiana border to Petoskey (US 131)
3. The Central Route
Indiana Border to Mackinaw City (I-69 to US 27 to I-75)
4. The East-Central and Northern Lake Huron Route
Ohio Border to Mackinaw City (US 23)
5. Southeastern Michigan and the Thumb
Ohio Border to Bay City (I-75 to I-94 to M-25)
6. Upper Peninsula, Lower Route
Mackinaw City to Ironwood (US 2)
7. Upper Peninsula, Upper Route
St Ignace to Wakefield (I-75 to M-28)